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New Fact Sheet on Wildfire Preparedness for Schools and IHEs

In 2018, over 55,000 wildfires burned over 8.5 million acres in the United States, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) online database, and, in 2017, several wildfires resulted in over $1 billion of losses, also according to a NOAA research article. Wildfires affect entire communities, including public and nonpublic schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education (IHEs), and require support from and coordination with the state via state education agencies and sometimes regional education agencies. To help education agencies plan and prepare for wildfires, the REMS TA Center has released a NEW a fact sheet on Wildfire Preparedness for K-12 Schools and Institutions of Higher Education.

This fact sheet:

  • Explains how to integrate wildfires into your education agency’s emergency operations plan (EOP), including before and during a wildfire according to your education agency type;
  • Describes wildfire preparedness activities that education agencies can engage in throughout the school year; and
  • Lists additional resources to support wildfire planning efforts.

Seeking lessons learned on wildfire planning, response and recovery?

For lessons learned from the San Diego County Office of Education during the 2007 wildfires, read Communication and Collaboration During Natural Disasters: The Lessons Learned From Past Experience (also available en Español). Our Tool Box also features a presentation by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and California Department of Education titled Emergency Management in California and Lessons Learned for Schools that delves into the lessons learned from some of the major wildfires in their state over the past couple of years (2017 Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County, 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County).

More information on planning for wildfires and other natural hazards is available on the REMS TA Center’s topic-specific Web page: Planning for Natural Hazards That May Impact Students, Staff, and Visitors.

Seeking more fact sheets and resources?

The REMS TA Center will be releasing additional threat- and hazard-specific fact sheets in the coming months, including an upcoming fact sheet series on flooding that is customized for K-12, higher ed and state education agency populations.

Over the past 3 years, the REMS TA Center has released fact sheets on the topics outlined below. We encourage you to download, post to your agency Websites, and to share with colleagues. Are there additional topics you would like to see covered? Send a note to

Our Topic-Specific Resources section and Publications page feature these fact sheets, as well as other resources and tools that can support emergency preparedness planning specific to natural hazards, as well as biological, technological, and adversarial- and human caused threats. Resources and tools featured on our site are developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools and its REMS TA Center, as well as other Federal and national partners who support education agencies and their partners with school safety and emergency management.

Join the National Preparedness Conversation

As we prepare for National Preparedness Month 2019 and settle into Back to School Month, keep the theme “Prepared Not Scared” in mind as you work to plan exercises, drills, and other preparedness activities this school year. Share information about this national preparedness campaign with your communications and social media departments and encourage them to use the following hashtags on social media throughout September to join the national conversation.

  • #PrepareAthonForSchools
  • #YouthPrep
  • #ReadyKids
  • #PrepareNow
  • #FloodSmart

Also, follow the REMS TA Center on Twitter via @remstacenter as we host our #REMSChatwithanExpert series on key topics in school and higher ed safety including reunification, school transportation safety, and bereavement and loss. Have ideas for future our #REMSChatwithanExpert series topics? Email us at

It takes a nation to create safe, supportive and prepared schools! Thanks for your support.

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